THE first time Hawaiian chief executive Russell Gibbs took the company’s owners to their newly acquired asset, Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa, there was a tropical downpour that left them stranded in the carpark of Broome Airport.
When Mr Gibbs finally arrived at the resort with Mei and Chiu Chi Wen they wandered around the resort and settled in at the Sunset Bar.
“We had a pizza and a drink just as the sunset and there was a sense that this was really quite a special place,” Mr Gibbs said.
This year the resort celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The doors opened in August 1988 when English politician and construction magnate Lord Alistair McAlpine realised a dream by opening the only resort on Cable Beach.
Hawaiian took over 11 years later but it didn’t go smoothly.
“Ansett collapsed and Cyclone Rosita came through very early on in our ownership,” Mr Gibbs said.
“I remember there being a time when in many ways it seemed like a lost cause but sitting with Chiu Chi Wen one day he said he still felt there was a heartbeat and it was our mission to restore that faintly beating heart… that started us on our journey.”
And Hawaiian, and the Gibbs family, have never looked back.
Their daughter Amy, who is now 17, took her first steps in the Durack Suite while Emily, now 15, learned to swim in the family pool.
Hawaiian has spent more than $40 million investing in improvements to the resort that now has 165 one-bedroom studio rooms, seven private villas, three club apartments, 47 bungalows and three luxury suites.